San Marcos Texas

San Marcos History

Legend has it that Franciscan monks paddling up the Guadalupe River discovered a clear river with large springs at its source and named the river San Marcos because the discovery was made on St. Mark's day. In 1851 William Lindsey, General Edward Burleson, and Eli Merriman brought the tract of land along the river and laid out the town site for San Marcos. However the town did not begin to develop until caravans arrived form both Mississippi and Georgia after 1852.

More growth came with the arrival of dislocated southerners after the Civil War when San Marcos became a cotton-producing center and flourished at the turn of the century with the prosperity of the cotton era. San Marcos also became the resting spot in a three day stagecoach trip from Austin to San Part of the square in downtown San MarcosAntonio. San Marcos has evolved from a gristmill, sawmill, and cotton farming town into a major texas tourist attraction and home to Texas State University, San Marcos.

The quaint and historic downtown is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and features art, antique and gift shops, unique restaurants, and lots of fun nightlife. One of the main attractions to San Marcos is the crystal clear San Marcos River which rises from mammoth springs within town and is noted for it's profusion of both plant and aquatic life. The pleasant 72 degree temperature of the river helps make it excellent for fishing, swimming, diving, kayaking, tubing, or relaxing with a picnic.

Fun Things to See and Do In San Marcos

Here are some recommendations on some outdoor activities and fun things to see and do in San Marcos:

  • Texas Outside Favorites - camp at Pecan Park Campground; have lunch or dinner on the deck of Joe's Crab Shack; shop at Prime Outlets and Tanger Outlet mall; partake in the nightlife around the town square (we like Sean Patricks for cold beer, darts, pool, and shuffleboard; and enjoy the river

Pecan Park CampgroundSean PatricksTubing the RiverJoe's Crab Shack

  • kill some free time at Aquarena Center - take the glass-bottom boat ride, read about some of the history, tour the small aquarium, and enjoy the wetlands walkway
  • swim, fish, tube, canoe, kayak, dive, snorkel, or picnic in the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River or the nearby Blanco River- click here to find a list of where to rent equipment
  • make your first jump or take a real leap of faith harnessed to a Skydive San Marcos instructor - free fall from 10,00 feet or higher and video tape your jump to prove you actually did it Rio Vista Falls
  • stop by the Hays County Veterans Memorial if you're a Vet
  • rent a tube at Lions Club and tube the San Marcos River for a few hours
  • take a faster or more fun ride on a tube or kayak over Rio Vista Falls
  • picnic at City Park, play volleyball, and enjoy the river
  • take the kids to Wonder World Park to tour the cave and other attractions
  • play golf at Texas State Golf Course (9 holes rated a 5) or other nearby courses
  • camp at Pecan Park Campground - a Texas Outside Top Ten rated campground
  • shop Tanger Outlet Center with over 100 outlets or Prime Outlets which was recently ranked the 3rd Best Place to Shop in the world as seen on ABC's "The View"
  • stroll around the University to view the ponds lined by towering cypress and live oak and the beautiful campus
  • tour the Texas State University campus and admire some of the architecture

Aquarena Springs Glass Bottom BoatTexas State Golf CourseDowntown Square San Marcos


Check with the Chamber of Commerce for information on these and more annual events:

  • Great Race Texas - March
  • Youthfest - April
  • Viva! Cinco de Mayo - May
  • Texas Natural & Western Swing Festival - May
  • Texas Water Safari - June

Live.Play.Enjoy....Enjoy San Marcos

Some of the above photos were provided by J. David Rowley

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About Texas Outside

Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

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